How Can You Effectively Work in a Team?

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HOW CAN YOU EFFECTIVELY WORK IN A TEAM?

What is a team? As noted by Dwyer (2006) “The terms ‘team’ and ‘group’ are frequently used interchangeably, since on many occasions that they share almost identical characteristics”. Or in other words, a team is composed of two or more individuals who are working together interdependently and cooperatively towards a common purpose or goal. The team is the most important asset of any project; an effective team has a common objective, complementary skills and mutual accountability. The four stages of effectual teams and their growth was first developed and published by Bruce Wayne Tuckman (1965). His theory, “Tuckman’s Team Development Stages” (Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing) was based on research he conducted on team dynamics. As Gina Abudi (n.d) points out, in 1977 Tuckman, jointly with Mary Ann Jensen, added a fifth stage to the existing four stages, ‘Adjourning’. This concept evidently answers the question ‘how can you effectively work in a team?’ The very first stage towards team development, forming or coming together, takes place when the team members meet each other at the beginning where “the individuals are not yet a real team, only a collection of individuals” (James Carlopio & Graham Andrewartha, 2008a). The team is dependant on the leader to guide them, “active leadership” (Philip J. Flores & Jeffrey M. Georgi, 2005). The members do not recognize each other, they lack trust, is uncertain about their individual roles in the team, people are not committed and importantly the mission is not owned by them. As actions, it is important for the team leader to be very clear about team goals, establish team roles and provide clear direction regarding the project. The leader should also be able to identify group behavioral patterns and adjust accordingly. The members should play their part towards success by demonstrating excitement and



References: James C. & Graham A. adapted from the text by Whetten and Cameron. (2008). Developing management skills (4th ed.). Pearson Education: Australia. Lafasto, Frank, & Carl Larson. (2001). When Teams Work Best. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Michael A Philip J. F. & Jeffrey M. G. (2005). A Treatment Improvement Protocol. DHHS Publication. Solomon, Charlene M., Schell, Michael S Stephen Robbins, Rolf Bergman, Ian Stagg & Mary Coulter (2006). Foundations Of Management (2nd ed.). Pearson, Prentice Hall.

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